To my list of failings as a father and a man I can add this: did not think to prompt daughter about the name for the main character in her science-class paramecium animation. She did a delightful little movie about everyone’s favorite unicellular organism, complete with VO and sound effects, but it wasn’t until she was done that I asked whether he had a name. She said no. I suggested Larry Paramecium. And then we said it simultaneously:

Perry Mecium.

Too late to recut.

Also at dinner: discussion of that flat worm-thin that grows another head if you split its head in two. What was it? Get out the iPhone, go to Google, hit speech recognition, and ask the little slab of plastic and metal to name the worm that grows another head. It hit me before the answer came back. Planaria.

These are the three exotic creatures of childhood zoology: The Paramecium, Planaria, and . . . all together now, the TRILOBYTE. I’m still surprised it’s not a unit of computer storage.

Speaking of which: if you’re wondering how my music-winnowing project is going, it’s going well. Entire albums: reduced to two tracks. That rockabilly song I got because I kept hearing an add for “Guitar Classic Instrumentals” when I was up at 3 AM in 2000 watching TV because infant Gnat had gas: I can live without it. Vast swaths of the playlists slayed before my pitiless gaze. I have an idea in mind: reducing everything I have made or hold important to 1 Terabyte. Sum it all up. The Desert Island Hard Drive, which would be ridiculous because there’s no power, but you know what I mean. Personal movies, the website, songs I cannot live without, the best of the composers I love, movies I come back to time and again.

“Mad Love” will probably not be one of them, although it’s good ‘n’ creepy; that’ll be for tomorrow.

Halloween’s tomorrow.

Eh. Oh, there's a BIG Halloween Retro-fest Bleat coming tomorrow, but this year? For Halloween in general? Eh and meh, We’ll go to the Haunted Triangle for the party, of course - but it’s outdoors, and damn, it’s cold. All the more reason for chili, I expect. There’s always chili. Steeped and simmered for days before. Talk with the neighbors. One of my neighbors is a grip / gaffer / set guy, and he’s probably happy “Red Dawn” was finally shoved out into the world; he was away from his family for weeks, working on that . . .

Returned the printer that had the CD printer. Because I came to my senses. Traded it for the next model down, which had the same guts, minus the printer. Felt so much better. It has ink tanks for each color, which I’ve long preferred. That one-tank-for-color approach is just a rusty halberd up the shanks, and we all know it: CYAN goes out, and the rest of the precious ichor is useless thereafter . . .

Sorry, distracted. Checking my mail - hey, it’s a survey! From Disneyworld! They care. I’ll say this: when it comes to the internet, the official Disney Vacation Club stuff is the ugliest, clunkiest stuff on the planet.

Okay, done with the survey. That was interesting. They were really, really interested in how much I liked the Wi-Fi. They probably noticed that the number of people who went to Saratoga Springs and brought Ethernet cords and paid nine dollars a nanosecond was less than some bean-counter predicted, so: waves and waves of internet flowing over everyone for free! Is that good?

That was good. I had the chance to sound off on the Gouge-a-teria, where they charge six dollars for a bottle of Michelob, and the wretched design of the Artist’s Palette food-distribution center - and I got to mention Eugene, the happy baggage-cart driver who saw us looking somewhat confused when we were staring at a map, and drove us to our room, showed us the new features, gave daughter some stickers (which she took with that “gosh, thanks” tight smile kids get when someone presumes they’re still into stickers, c’mon dude) and generally exuded a radiant glow of fantastic Disneyostity.

Saddest part of the survey: I was asked to compare it with non-Disney hotels I’d stayed at. Last option:


Product is next. Why? Because we learn things. Let’s begin.









Wikipedia, which knows all and sees all, says:

Pre-shaped ready-to-bake biscuits can be purchased in supermarkets, in the form of small refrigerated cylindrical segments of dough encased in a cardboard can. These refrigerator biscuits were patented by Ballard and Ballard in 1931.

So they cut out one Ballard for the American market.

Birds Eye:




It’s not necessarily bound to be better; there’s nothing about the product to back up that broad assertion. The package has a word you don’t see on frozen food these days:







Clarence Gaines died in 1986, and I suspect he left a substantial fortune. He was into horses and real estate, and you don’t find many pikers in those lines. He invented dog food in the early 20s - previously, dogs had just gone hungry - and sold it to General Foods in 1943. The invention of the Gaines Burger came after he’d severed ties with the company that bore his name; must have given him a laugh to walk through the grocery store and see moist shelf-stable dog-food pucks named after him.

By the way: the dictionary defines “homogenized” as:

1. Subject (milk) to a process in which the fat droplets are emulsified and the cream does not separate.

2. Prepare a suspension of cell constituents from (tissue) by physical treatment in a liquid.

How this applies to dog food I haven’t the faintest idea. I’m guessing the term was intended to have a secondary meaning of “Scientifically pure and uniform in quality,” because . . .



It’s just odd to have the same term proudly deployed for pie crust and dog food.

Here’s an ad for Gaines that has the same box design:


That dog sold for $266,000. Stuffed, that is.

Here’s . . . well, you’ll see. Different approach; they got a Don Draper to tell them to go for something less straight-laced.



The Napoleon factor, for those younguns among the audience, was intended to suggest insanity. Crazy people thought they were Napoleon. They had the hat and walked around with their hand ducked in their coat.

You have to love this:



Chuck Jones. Is that Paul Frees?


This was new to me. A competitor to the Kel-bowl-pac - single-sized servings of General Mills cereals, packaged under the rubric of Betty Crocker. Never knew she was used to brand cereal; wonder if this was a one-shot.





I can’t find much about this brand:




They used a Kentucky Colonel, because nothing says “fruit pie” like a fellow who possibly fought in the War of Northern Aggression, you know. Many varieties; note the unified packaging design. It only deviates for the last one, perhaps because they had to make room for the assertion that the custard was as Old-Fashioned as the Colonel’s nostalgia for the Peculiar Institution.

Okay, that's enough cheap shots. Sorry.






Still around, although greatly diminished. (This article notes that one surviving fragment of the chain is run by Oprah King and her son Brink King Jr. What a great name! That’s a hard-nosed cigar-chomping table-pounding executive name. Brink King! Or perhaps a 1930s African adventurer in a radio serial.)



A reminder: the package had the shape of a TV screen to remind you to eat it while facing the cathode-ray-tube information distribution nexus.


Beef! But what kind? Beef kind!


Odd, this; they were mostly known for juice. In 1950 Time mag said:

In the booming frozen orange juice business, no one had squeezed himself a bigger glass than husky, 37-year-old John Irving Moone, president of Manhattan's Snow Crop Marketers, Inc. Last week Moone, who claims first place among U.S. orange concentrate producers, squeezed harder. For about $1,000,000, he bought 1,100 acres of Sarasota citrus groves, to boost Snow Crop's total Florida groves to about 17,000 acres. From its own groves and from purchases from independent Towers this year, Snow Crop will can almost 10 million gallons of fresh orange concentrate, putting it ahead of Bing Crosby's Minute Maid . . .

Wait a minute - Bing Crosby’s Minute Maid? Yes!



But no, not really. National Research Co, the concentrate maker behind the brand, was Boston company. Says wikipedia:

The ability to purchase fresh-tasting orange juice at any time of year, far from where oranges are grown, proved popular, and led to the company's national success.[3] Additionally, Bing Crosby was made their first pitchman in 1949 who was the worlds biggest star by that time being in movies, radio, records and soon TV. At the time, the IRS taxed the stars 77% on their income but this deal circumvented it as a capital gains tax.

Seventy-seven percent! And of course no one paid it.

Coca-Cola bought MinuteMaid later, and I’m sure Bing got a cut of that.

By the way, who do you think owned Snow Crop in the end?

Minute Maid. It was originally owned by Clinton Industries, but Minute Maid bought them in 1954.
















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